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Joe Spier, K6WAO, Ascends to AMSAT-NA Presidency, Announces Next CubeSat Initiative


The AMSAT-NA Board of Directors has elected Joe Spier, K6WAO, of Weimar, California, as the organization’s new president. An ARRL and AMSAT Life Member, Spier, 58, succeeds Barry Baines, WD4ASW, who served as AMSAT President for the past 9 years. Spier is a well-known figure in AMSAT and Amateur Radio satellite circles. He served previously as AMSAT-NA Executive Vice President and Vice President for Educational Relations. The Board’s action came at the AMSAT-NA Annual General Meeting in Reno, Nevada, where Spier announced the next phase of AMSAT’s CubeSat program, called “GOLF.”

GOLF is an acronym for “Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint.” AMSAT considers the new initiative as a crucial step toward fulfilling AMSAT’s strategic goals involving high-altitude, wide-access satellite missions.

As an initial step in the GOLF program, AMSAT will be submitting a NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal for the GOLF-T satellite project, which will serve as a rapidly deployable low Earth orbit (LEO) testbed for technologies necessary for successful CubeSat missions in a wide range of orbit, including LEO, medium Earth orbit (MEO), geosynchronous orbit (GEO), and highly elliptical orbit (HEO).

“The GOLF-T project tees off the next phase of our CubeSat program,” punned AMSAT-NA Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY. “GOLF-T provides AMSAT hardware and knowledge for attitude determination and control (ADAC) capability and the opportunity to develop a 3U spaceframe with deployable solar panels that can be used in LEO or HEO missions — two of the major systems required in future GOLF and HEO missions.”

AMSAT said GOLF-T will provide the opportunity for rapid deployment and on-orbit testing of AMSAT’s Advanced Satellite Communications and Exploration of New Technology (ASCENT) program’s technology. ASCENT will include radiation-tolerant transponder and Integrated Housekeeping Unit (IHU) technologies that, AMSAT says, “will lead the way for low-cost, commercial, off-the-shelf systems that can function in MEO and HEO radiation environments.” GOLF-T will also provide for the development of so-called “Five and Dime” (5 GHz and 10 GHz) field-programmable gate array software-defined radio (FPGA SDR) transponders for use on a variety of missions and orbits.

Other officers elected by the Board were Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, Executive Vice President; Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Vice-President Engineering; Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, Vice-President Operations; Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, Secretary; Keith Baker, KB1SF/VA3KSF, Treasurer, and Martha Saragovitz as Manager.

Baines said it’s been an honor to serve as AMSAT-NA President and as a Board Member since 1999.

“I’m confident that the successes of the past 9 years while serving as president will lead to new opportunities in AMSAT’s future as Joe assumes the helm working with the new senior leadership team,” Baines said. “I’m excited that the new Board, combined with the new senior leadership team, will bring insight, enthusiasm, energy, and commitment to move AMSAT forward.”



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